Sometimes the black letter law passed by the legislature is unclear. The legislature can’t anticipate every possible fact scenario when they pass a law, so it lay to the courts to interpret the law and give guidance to what it means. This interpretation is called case law. When the court decides a certain meeting to the law it essentially answers a legal question. Lawyers and other courts then can rely on that ruling when they have a similar issue in their case. The following case answers the question above.
State v. Gregg, 2009, 221 P.3d 596, 42 Kan.App.2d 719.
This case addresses the following issue:
What kind of actions will constitute a violation of a PFA order?
This case comes from the defendant, Steven Gregg, appealing his conviction of violating a protection from abuse (PFA) order that his mother had against him.
At trial, Gregg’s mother testified that while she was at Wal–Mart her son “just followed me around a little bit there in Wal–Mart asking me to drop the PFA.” Id. at 597. Crabtree also testified that she ultimately “dropped” the PFA because of Gregg’s “very insistence.” Id. Gregg testified on his own behalf that he briefly said hello to his mother at the Wal–Mart and then conversed with his brother, who was also present. Id.
Under cross-examination the following colloquy occurred between the prosecutor and Gregg:
“Q. You heard your mom testify that you were continually insistent upon her dropping this order; is that true?
“A. Well, I was insistent and just a conversation with each other, yes.” Id.
On appeal, Gregg contends the district court misunderstood his testimony on cross-examination, and that when he admitted to a conversation wherein he insisted his mother “drop” the PFA, it was not during the Wal–Mart encounter. The district court understood the testimony differently. Id.
The Court of Appeals had the following holding. “The PFA order directed that Gregg should have “no contact with [Crabtree], directly or indirectly.” Crabtree testified that her son approached her at Wal–Mart and asked her “to drop” the PFA. Moreover, Gregg admitted that he said “hello” to his mother. This evidence—without consideration of the disputed testimony on cross-examination—was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gregg had contacted his mother in contravention of the PFA and in violation of K.S.A. 21–3843.” Id. at 598. The judgement was affirmed.